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Melaleuca styphelioides, Prickly Paperbark

Melaleuca styphelioides, Prickly Paperbark, is a medium tree that may reach a height of 20 metres. The papery bark peels off in strips.

Leaves are ovate, dark green, up to 15 millimetres long and crowned with a sharp point (hence the common name). The prickly foliage provides nesting sites for small native birds.

Flowers are held in terminal, white, two centimetre long bottlebrush-shaped spikes. They are profusely produced in late spring and summer. Foliage, flowers and bark are all attractive features.

The Prickly Paperbark is widespread in NSW and occurs in tableland and coastal areas as well as Queensland. There are isolated populations in Victoria.

M. styphelioides grows along stream banks and low-lying areas. In cultivation the species will also survive and thrive in well-drained situations. This species will handle smog pollution and saline soils.

The Prickly Paperbark is used as a street tree in some Sydney and Melbourne suburbs.

The species was first described in 1797 by James Edward Smith from plant material collected by David Burton near Port Jackson.

The species name refers to the similarity of the leaves to those of the Styphelia genus.

Propagate from seed and cuttings.

Warren and Gloria Sheather

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